HP Envy x2 11-g010nr 11.6-Inch Convertible Laptop Review

HP Envy x2 11-g010nr 11.6-Inch Convertible Laptop

The HP Envy x2 11-g010nr 11.6-Inch Convertible Laptop is an interesting concept – a fully fledged Windows 8 machine (no lightweight Windows RT here!) that can be both a tablet and a laptop.

Of course, whether that concept appeals to you will depend very much on whether you have any practical use for a tablet, and a Windows tablet, at that. Certainly, they are small, lightweight, extremely easy to carry around, have a reasonable battery life and (for tablets like the HP Envy x2, which run the full Windows 8 rather than Windows RT) can run all of your existing Windows-based software.

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That fact alone may be enough to turn existing Windows users away from tablets running Android or iOS, particularly if they have need of a specific piece of software that is unavailable on other platforms. However, a great deal of conventional Windows software, designed, as it is, to run in the familiar desktop / laptop environment where the keyboard and mouse hold sway, may not make the leap to a touch-driven tablet environment without difficulty.

Windows tablets have been tried before, and have generally met with little success because the standard Windows screen furniture elements – buttons, check boxes, scroll bars et al – are just too small and fiddly to be used reliably on a small touch screen.

Fortunately, the HP Envy x2 – and others in the convertible class of laptop – needn’t be solely reliant upon that touch screen as their only means of interacting with the user. The screen, which houses the majority of the computing guts of the machine, clips neatly onto the back of a keyboard and touchpad – much as you would find on any conventional laptop – when you need to work with a keyboard and mouse. For those times when you need the extra portability and convenience of a tablet, simply unclip the screen and take it with you.

This is an elegant solution to the age-old problem of trying to combine modern, touch-friendly hardware and software with the countless thousands of potentially touch-unfriendly Windows applications that have been developed over the last 20 years or so, and that many people absolutely cannot do without or easily replace.

Clearly, then, machines like the HP Envy x2 11-g010nr are, at least in theory, extremely desirable to certain groups of Windows users. Whether that theory is adopted in the real world depends to some extent on how useful – and usable – convertible devices are found to be.

Pros :

  • Impressive Tablet / Laptop Convertible
  • 2GB RAM
  • 64GB SSD
  • Runs Standard Windows Software
  • Full Size Detachable Keyboard / Trackpad
  • Battery Life Up To 12 Hours
  • Windows 8

Cons :

  • RAM Cannot Be Upgraded
  • 64GB SSD Could Be Bigger

The HP Envy x2 11-g010nr 11.6-inch convertible laptop is driven by an Intel Atom Z2760 processor. This a 1.8 GHz, dual core, four thread System on a Chip (SoC) designed specifically for use in tablets and tablet convertibles, where low power consumption and built-in security need to be balanced with compatibility and a responsive user experience.

The processor is supported by 2GB of RAM and a 64GB Solid State Drive (SSD). Although 64GB is not particularly large, it should be adequate for most purposes. In the event that it is not, the machine has a built-in card reader and two USB 2.0 ports, so attaching addition storage should not be a problem.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the on-board RAM – there are no accessible memory sockets, so the supplied 2GB of RAM cannot be upgraded. That said, 2GB will probably be sufficient for the kinds of tasks that this machine is likely to be used for.

The 11.6 inch, HD, Anti-glare, LED-backlit IPS display is powered by Intel Graphics Media Accelerator technology, once again providing a good balance between power consumption and performance. It should cope easily with everyday tasks, HD video and casual games, but, unsurprisingly, it will struggle with more demanding games.

In addition to the two USB 2.0 ports mentioned above, this machine supports Bluetooth for connecting to wireless peripherals like mice, headsets and other devices, while 802.11 b/g/n WiFi provides wireless network access. An HDMI port makes it easy to connect an external monitor or HDTV, so you can work or relax in front of a (much) bigger display.

This machine features not one, but two cameras – a front-facing HP TrueVision 1080p HD webcam with integrated digital microphone for video chat, and a rear-facing 8.0MP camera for all you more demanding photographic needs. Of course, as good as the built-in Beats Audio speakers may be, there are times when you may want to keep things a little more private. For those occasions, the x2 11-g010nr also features microphone and headphone jacks.

HP Envy x2 11-g010nr 11.6-Inch Convertible Laptop

Finally, the display / tablet includes support for Near Field Communication (NFC) – a means of wirelessly exchanging information between two NFC-enabled devices simply touching them together. Although not yet commonplace, the technology is becoming increasingly widespread, and it is good to see it included here.

So much for the tablet part of the convertible duo, but what about the base / keyboard section?

The keyboard is a full-sized, island style model, which should be reasonably familiar to anyone who has used a modern laptop of late. Although not to everyone’s taste, these low-travel keyboards are generally good enough to get the job done, and are certainly a huge improvement upon the on-screen alternative. There is also a large HP Imagepad mouse substitute that supports multi-touch gestures and incorporates an Off / On button, too.

Interestingly, the base is also endowed with its own battery. Alone, the tablet section boasts of up to 7 hours of battery life – useful, but not Earth shattering. However, when docked to the keyboard and its additional battery, the system’s battery life increases to up 12 hours and 15 minutes – a definite and welcome improvement.

All of this technology is tucked into a Natural Silver finished, Brushed Aluminum case that measures 11.93″W x 8.12″D x 0.66″—0.76″H and weighs just 3.06lbs. Apart from being an impressive feat, those dimensions give some idea of the intended uses of – and market for – this device. It is, in size and function at least, a successor to the popular netbook class of small, easily portable computers, albeit with a more modern CPU and some neat tricks up its sleeve. Or, if you prefer, its a tablet with a useful bolt-on keyboard that can run traditional Windows applications.

However you choose to look at it, this is not a desktop replacement laptop squeezed into an impossibly tiny shell – it’s a lightweight, portable device that should cope well with routine tasks on the move, but will be no match for a standard desktop or laptop when it comes to more challenging applications. That said, there were – and are – many people who found netbooks to be quite adequate for the their everyday computing needs, and there will doubtless be even more people who need nothing more than the facilities offered by this class of device.

If you’re looking for a very small, very easily portable Windows 8 laptop to take around with you for routine tasks, a tablet that can run legacy Windows applications or a combination of both, the HP Envy x2 11-g010nr 11.6-Inch Convertible Laptop might well be just the machine for you.

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